NHL Rumor Mill – November 9, 2017
Latest on the Columbus Blue Jackets, NY Rangers, Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks plus updates on Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Andrew Hammond in your NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC: In the aftermath of the Matt Duchene trade, Pierre LeBrun reports the Columbus Blue Jackets remain in the market for a center. They were very interested in Duchene before he was shipped to the Ottawa Senators and hope to acquire a top-six center before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. LeBrun also reports the banged-up Boston Bruins are eyeing the market for a top-nine forward.
In a recent mailbag segment, LeBrun’s colleague Aaron Portzline lists Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk and Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as two names floating around the rumor mill who the Jackets could keep an eye on.
Asked about the possible cost of acquiring New York Islanders center John Tavares (assuming they could also re-sign him), Portzline speculates it could be “(Pierre-Luc) Dubois, Gabriel Carlsson, Sonny Milano, Elvis Merzlikins and a first-round pick.” If they can’t re-sign him, “Carlsson, Milano and a first-round pick.”
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Bob McKenzie telling Toronto’s TSN 1050 the New York Rangers “wanted Duchene badly” but weren’t willing to part with young defenseman Brady Skjei. He also believes the Bruins want to bolster their injury-ravaged roster but hasn’t seen what his team is like when healthy.
THE MERCURY NEWS: Paul Gackle believes the return the Colorado Avalanche received for Duchene indicates just how costly it’ll be for the San Jose Sharks to find a suitable replacement for the departed Patrick Marleau. If the Sharks do pull off a trade for a scoring forward it’ll likely cost them a young defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Duchene and Kyle Turris off the block, the pickings are currently slim for teams seeking a scoring forward/center.
Galchenyuk has improved following a slow start and has moved back up the Habs depth chart. I think teams are calling the Habs to look into his availability but I don’t see them parting with him now.
Nugent-Hopkins’ $6 million annual cap hit is difficult to move. If the Oilers are willing to shop him they’ll likely want a scoring right wing back.
As for Tavares, he’s currently unavailable and there’s no certainty the Islanders will move him by the trade deadline.
The Blue Jackets, Rangers, Bruins and Sharks will likely continue to monitor the trade market, but they could be waiting until January before some better options appear.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan reports Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has resurfaced in the trade rumor mill, but Coyotes GM John Chayka quickly dismissed the speculation. “He’s never once complained to me or talked about greener pastures,” Chayka said, insisting he hasn’t had serious discussions about moving the blueliner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes’ lousy start to this season explains why Ekman-Larsson is popping up again in media trade chatter. He lacks no-trade protection and is eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2019. I don’t believe he’ll be dealt this season, but I expect his name will be heard more frequently in trade talk in the offseason.
The Coyotes have been mired in mediocrity for the last five seasons. The temptation to join a playoff contender could be strong for Ekman-Larsson as free agency approaches. If the Coyotes do put him on the market they’ll seek a substantial return. They’ll get it, too.
TSN: Goaltender Andrew Hammond’s tenure with the Colorado Avalanche could be short. It’s believed Avs GM Joe Sakic hopes to trade the netminder, who was part of the return they received in the Matt Duchene deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The asking price is likely a draft pick or prospect.